Archive - May 2015

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May 24th

Moss

I have always liked Randy Moss, even his bad boy act, and this makes me like him more. His unwillingness to pander to the sports press, which insists every sports figure should take their ridiculous questions seriously, and which encourages sports figures to be hypocrites, was fun to watch. "No, I don't play as hard on every play," Moss said, to the outrage of all. His honesty and brashness was too much for the press to bear. 

Here's and even better article

May 18th

3rd Spring

Looks like we're on our way to the third spring this spring as temperatures look good into the indefinite future after these past couple of cold days. Business has been good at the nursery this spring, and I think the repeated ups and downs get people antsy several times over, which can only encourage repeated trips to the nursery. 

Brother Joe and sister-in-law Kae are doing a great job of whipping the business into shape. I have been helping as needed. 

The Twins have cooled a bit since the hot streak which pushed them above .500 for the first time in a few years. I continue to be impressed by the quality of Molitor's managing, and am starting to appreciate what Neil Allen is doing with the pitching staff.  

In other news, the Minnesota Legislature once again is making sure the end-of-session repeats its annual chaos. Even in a non-budget year, lawmakers seem determined to go to the last minute with big issues unresolved. At that point, sweeping compromises are made which could have been worked out long before and merely tweaked in conference committee. The time for additional scrutiny would make for better laws. However, the prime interest in St. Paul seems to be winning the next election. Legislators are convinced (accurately, sadly) that voters don't watch them that closely and are more interested in handouts in the form of tax breaks than in good long-term policy. It looks like the nursing home funding increase will go through, however. 

I remain convinced that the people get exactly the government they deserve, both nationally and locally. 

Gov. Dayton is insisting upon his universal pre-K education measure. If so many children weren't neglected due in part to their parents having to hold a whole lot of jobs just to pay the bills, I would say they should stay home until they are five. However, when you see what many kids go through at that age nowadays, it might be good for them to have some structure earlier on. Government has to deal with reality, not the 1950s ideals of one-income happy families people cling to out of nostalgia. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 30th

Molitor's impact

Paul Molitor's managing style is becoming more evident as we finish the first month of the baseball season. One completely underrated aspect of the game (mainly because you don't often see it on TV) is defensive positioning. Molitor is a student of statistics, and if an opposing batter hits the ball to the right side 90% of the time, he moves his defenders to the right side. What's more, he moves the defenders during the at-bat according to the count. Hesitant to shift defenders early in the count due to the threat of a bunt to an empty spot at third base, Molitor sometimes shifts them only after the batter has two strikes, at which time a bunt isn't a safe play (if you bunt a ball foul with two strikes, you are out). 

Last night against the White Sox, a right-handed batter hit a ball hard up the middle. Brian Dozier, who was shifted to the left, snagged the ball behind second base and recorded the out. In a traditionally-aligned infield, the ball would have been a hit.

At the plate, the Twins are absorbing Molitor's approach as well. Two days ago, Arcia, seeing Detroit's extreme shift to the right, tapped a little dribbler to the empty spot at third base. What would have been an out turned into a hit that barely reached the outfield. A hit is a hit, and three other Twins players bunted for hits that day, and even though the Twins eventually lost, they scored more runs than they would have if they had continued to slash the ball towards the concentration of fielders. 

Statistics show that the most important aspect of winning baseball is simply getting on base. It doesn't matter how you do it. Walks, errors, bunt singles, dribblers, bloopers--all are equal to line drives if you get on base. 

Back to defense: Although there have been too many dropped balls in the outfield, at least the outfielders are throwing the ball back to the infield properly. Robinson has three assists already. You can lead the league with 12 in a season. The Twins have nailed several runners at the plate this season. If that keeps up, opposing third base coaches will stop sending the runners, which is the whole idea. However, if there is a good chance the outfielders are going to let fly an ill-advised throw, the runners will try to score every time. 

On the Twins' side, Tony Glynn has a reputation as an aggressive third base coach. Last night, when the defense of the White Sox let up as if the play was over before the ball was safely in the inner infield, Glynn sent Danny Santana home for an important score. 

Another welcome change: Twins pitchers are being told to make the batters dance a bit. In other words, throw the ball low and inside and let them jump rope. The batter will have that pitch in their mind for the rest of the at bat and won't dig in with such confidence. 

The Twins are still a leaky ship. Their outfielders have to hit. Torii Hunter is in the lineup only for his bat and if that doesn't come to life, his tenure in right field should be short. He is giving up runs with his glove, and that is not enough to make up for his generally smart throws from the outfield.

It is possible that by the end of the season, the Twins will have three new starting outfielders. 

Kurt Suzuki's play behind the plate has been great. He, more than Torii Hunter, is the team leader on the field. 

DH/first baseman Kennys Vargas needs to go to the minor leagues to get his batting stroke back. They have a first baseman named Hicks down at AAA who is batting .360. I hope they swap the two within the next few days.